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Considering Real Estate as Part of Your Estate Plan

One of the most significant assets that people own at death is real estate – whether that be a primary home, vacation home, rental property, or any combination. For the most part, a basic estate plan and a family that gets along should be enough to deal with these assets upon death, but that is not always the case. Very frequently, people die without considering the financial, legal and family implications of owning real estate upon death.

Financially, real estate is essentially treated like any other asset you own upon your death and is taxed accordingly. For real estate located…


Benefits of Working with a Professional, Community-Based Trust Group

Part of any complete estate plan is the naming of a number of important positions. Whether that be a Guardian to raise your minor children, an Agent to act as your Power of Attorney when you cannot act for yourself, an Executor to administer your estate, or a Trustee who is charged with managing any trusts that you create as part of your overall plan; these are important decisions to make.

Some of these roles can be filled by a trusted individual (family member, friend, attorney, etc.), but the role of an Executor and Trustee may be best filled by…


Changing Trustees of a Special Needs Trust

The relationship a trustee has with a beneficiary is one that is not only of a legal fiduciary nature, but one of a personal nature, as well. The personal aspect of this relationship could not be further exemplified than in terms of a special needs trust.

When administering a special needs trust, there is an important relationship not only between the trustee and the beneficiary, but many times, the beneficiary’s family, guardian, and other trusted advisors of the beneficiary (care managers, accountants, attorneys, etc.). There is no way around this relationship becoming deep over time due to the ongoing…


Parents – Why You NEED an Estate Plan

Many younger individuals do not feel that estate planning is necessary until they have “significant” assets. This is a dangerous approach especially if minor children are part of the equation. Any experienced estate planning attorney would agree that a core function of estate planning, in general, is the ability for parents to set up the “framework” for their minor children. The most important aspect of this framework is the ability to appoint a guardian for minor children if both parents are deceased. This is not asset-dependent planning and should be addressed as soon as possible, especially in situations where…


Building a Financial Plan for a Child with Special Needs

For parents of children with special needs, creating a sound, long-term financial plan is not only critical, but often complex. The basic idea behind planning for a child with special needs is to design a way to provide for your child after your death while ensuring that child remains eligible for state and federal benefits. The actual planning can be intricate and ever-changing legislation and rules can muddy the waters. Therefore, working with an “A-team” of specialized professionals can help ensure you’ve properly planned for your child’s life well beyond yours.

Creating this financial plan can be compared to the…


Who Should You Name as Fiduciary of Your Estate Plan?

The concept of “estate planning” is more than simply determining what family member may “inherit” a coin collection or ensuring that whatever money may be remaining after your death is split evenly among your children. It is much more complex; requiring both education and professional legal assistance to do properly.

While this article is not meant to provide a comprehensive examination of all the different types of estate planning documents or provide any sort of legal advice, it is meant to provide some insight and education from my experience as an attorney and trust officer so you can make your…

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